TEWKSBURY, MA -- Both Rangers squads took to the road this past weekend, to take care of their first big trip of the season. The EHL team went 1-2-0 over the weekend against a pair Mid-Atlantic North opponents, losing a couple of close games. The EHLP team on the other hand, started their season off on the right foot, winning both of their games over the New Jersey 87s.
The EHL squad kicked off their three-game road trip on Saturday against the New Jersey 87s. After a scoreless 1st period, the 87s drew first blood, scoring a pair of goals in the middle frame. The Rangers leading scorer from last season, Zach Norby, answered just 36 seconds into the 3rd period, cutting the lead in half. However, the 87s converted on another opportunity just three minutes later to take a 3-1 lead. Despite, a late goal from Danila Larionovs, the Rangers fell by a final score of 4-2. Ben Parker stopped 22 shots in the losing effort.
The boys returned to action on Sunday for a rematch against the 87s. Andrew Keith got the Rangers on the board first with a goal near the 7-minute mark of the 1st frame. After the 87s tied the game on the power-play, Keith found the back of the net for a second time to give the Rangers a 1-goal lead heading into the final period. Erik Nilsson notched his first goal of the young season at the halfway mark of the 3rd to give the Rangers 3-1 lead, and just a few minutes later, Keith completed his hat-trick and added more insurance to the team's lead. Despite 2 late power-play goals by the 87s, the Rangers took the final game of the series by a score of 4-2. Aiden Curry collected his first win this year between the pipes, stopping 40 shots in the process.
The boys wrapped up their 3-game road trip with a matchup against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Monday. The Knights jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Larionovs converted on the power-play to give the Rangers their first goal of the game. Zeb Scheffler scored in the closing minutes of the contest, but that is all the Rangers could put together as they fell in another close battle by the final score of 3-2.
The EHLP squad kicked off their 2018-19 campaign with a matchup against the New Jersey 87s, who came into Saturday’s matchup having won their first 3 games of the year. After 2 scoreless periods, Levi Hensley broke the tie at the 18:36 mark of the final frame to give the Rangers the lead. Matt McPherson added an insurance goal later in the period to help lead the Rangers to a 2-0 victory. Bobby McCloskey stood on his head between the pipes, stopping all 39 shots that he faced for his first shutout of the young season. McCloskey’s performance on Saturday was strong enough to earn him a TSR Hockey Star of the Week honor.
The Rangers squared up against the 87s again on Sunday and the story wasn't much different. After a scoreless 1st frame, the boys didn't waste any time in the 2nd period with Luke Marsh giving the Rangers the lead in the very first minute of the period. Dennis Engelson, Tanner Caldarola, and McPherson collected the other 2nd period goals, as the Rangers took a 4-0 lead into the final frame. The Rangers finished the game on a high note as Matt Orlando had himself a period, finding the back of the net 3 times in just 15 minutes. Mitch Gillespie had the other 3rd period goal, as the Rangers won by a final score of 8-2. Cam Libby was solid in net, stopping 31 out of 33 shots in his first appearance of the season.
The EHL team will matchup against the defending EHL Champions (New Hampshire Avalanche) on Wednesday at Stoneham Ice Arena, before heading to the first EHL Showcase of the season at Rodman Arena in Walpole, MA. The EHLP squad on the other hand, will gear up for a busy weekend with 3 divisional matchups against the Walpole Express on Friday, followed by the Valley Jr. Warriors on Saturday and the New England Wolves on Sunday.